Hey guys,
Been playing about a year now on a Dean Vendetta 1 (entry level Dean). I like it enough, but when I bought it I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with learning to play guitar or not so if I decided I didn't really want to play I'd only be out a couple hundred bucks.

Well at this point its clear that I enjoy playing enough to invest in a more "mid level" guitar. Looking to spend between 6 and 700$ max here, so thats the budget. Mainly I'm looking to get something that will be an upgrade in playing feel. I have the action set about as low as I can get it on my Dean without major fret buzz (still get some buzz in spots) and while its not horrible, its not as low as I'd like. I didn't really even know what I was missing until I played a friend's guitar and felt how easy his was to fret. Bending can really send the thing out of tune quickly as well, which was ok at first but now is getting annoying.

So basically, just looking for something versitile that I can continue to learn on. I prefer heavy-ish music, however I've found I really enjoy playing blues as sort of a learning tool. I do a fair amount of just strumming / playing songs that would be played on an acoustic also... so yeah it'd be nice if it could do pretty much everything (at least passably for a practice / learning to play environment). I play on a peavey vypyr 30 modelling amp, which I am pretty pleased with and affords me a wide range of options as far as sounds are concerned.

A few I was looking at today:

Schecter C-1 Plus - Has a coil tap which I think would be cool to play with. No trem, which I can't make up my mind on (if I want one or not). My Dean doesn't have one because I didn't want to mess with one, but as I progress it might be fun to learn how to use one.

PRS SE Custom - I know they have a good reputation as far as quality is concerned

One of the Jackson Dinkys? I know they are great / horrible depending on who you are asking so thats kind of a tough one but to me the DK2 looks pretty cool.

Honestly researching this stuff always gets so confusing... I'd be open to any other suggestions as well. Thanks for your help guys
Last edited by Oppenheimer at Nov 30, 2009,
Unless you really need to use the floyd rose it may be worth it to avoid unless you are really looking for one, it can be more of a pain if you never need one. The other guitar that I'd suggest you check out is the Fender MIM Fat Strat.

Also take a afternoon out and visit your guitar store and try out different guitars and see what you want but yeah you've got pretty good options on your list already as it is so it's probably more important to just try those ones out.
That Fender Fat strat is really a nice guitar. You can get it with a Rose, but like already mentioned, they have a long learning curve and you may end up wishing you never went that way.
The other option is the Lone Star strat by Fender, south of the border, but is comes with two hot texas specials and a Peraly Gates Plus humbucker in the bridge. The Pearly gates can get heavy.
Personally, I vote the PRS SE Custom 24. Retails at $500 off GC. Snatch the PRS while the price is still low.

I've seen the Paul Allender sig go from $750 to $900 down to $500. The Paul Allender sig (purple / black burst finish with gold hardware and bat inlays) is an absolutely gorgeous guitar and plays like a dream, but if you're not into the whole dark and spooky niche, might not be for you. Mind you it handles cleans, mild drive, and facemelthatekilldie distortion beautifully. It's not limited to just one sound. So, if you like it, go to a GC and play it. Same with the SE Custom 24. Both beautiful guitars, I've never played (or seen) a lousy PRS.
Quote by fly135
Great list Rutch. On re-reading this one I'd have to say Solid State means not liquid or gas.

I figured it out.
Thank you for the replies guys... I went to the local place last night but only got to try a few guitars before they closed. It was an interesting trip, as I've never done it before. I think I at least figured out a few things:

1. Decided against a tremolo for now. I have plenty to learn before I start messing around with that.
2. I don't prefer necks that have the painted back on them... ones with a "satin" finish are more comfortable to me.
3. While neck shapes vary more than I would have expected, I didn't find any of the shapes offensive. I don't know if its hand size, the fact that I'm just a beginner or a combination of both but I think I could get used to playing on any of the neck shapes I tried.
4. Playing in the store is embarassing. I know nobody working there even gives a crap but my playing is total garbage compared to when no one is looking.
5. The guitars I played were all in the 500 - 700$ range, and they were all noticeably nicer than my 200$ Dean as far as playability is concerned (fretting etc, which is what I'm most concerned with). This surprised me a little, to be honest, because I don't feel like the Dean is "bad" at all. It was obvious though that I didn't have to be quite as precise or press as hard to avoid buzzing. Lots of times on my guitar my finger will be on the right string and on the right fret, but it'll still buzz until I move my finger toward the bridge and / or press more firmly. It was kind of nice to know that pretty much no matter what I seem to go with, I'll probably get at least most of what I'm looking for.

None of the guitars I played yesterday were ones on my list in the original post. In fact, I played an Epiphone (there are a million of them... I played this one) , a Fender, and an Ibanez so I didn't even play a BRAND that was on the list. Not that it matters, really. Out of those, I actually liked the Epiphone best, though it has the painted neck so that particular one I would rule out. I would never have considered buying an Epi based on the stuff I've read on this board... I guess thats why you go play them right?

Anyway I'll come back and post when I decide which way I'm going to go. Thanks guys
Last edited by Oppenheimer at Dec 1, 2009,
If the ESP 1000 series are still on saleat sam ash are still on sale for $600 check it out look at either the EC or H
Jackson Rhodes
Jackson Kelly With EMG HZ's
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Sierra 28ce Acoustic Electric
Peavey Vypyr 212 (tube)
Line 6 Floor pod
Ibanez Toneblaster 30w
Custom Bass I built from spare parts
Fender Rumble 60 bass amp
Ok, figured I'd update my thread just in case anybody still cares. Was kind of an interesting story and there is lesson-learning involved.

I decdied to order an Epiphone Prophecy SG GX (internet order) after a second trip to my two local places. They didnt have that particular model available for me to play (VERY limited selection at both places) but I felt confident regardless that I would be getting something that was a big step up from what I had.

Well, it came the other day and while it was certainly a better guitar than what I had been playing, the neck-heavy feel of the guitar bothered me more than I thought it would. Could I get used to it? Sure, probably... but it was 650$ and being a beginner having to hold the neck up was kind of a pain. I decided to bite the bullet and return it.

So this morning I decided to make the hour drive (I live in the middle of nowhere which is why internet ordering is so nice) to the Guitar Center nearest me. I wanted to play some Schecters and play the PRS stuff that the sales guy at my local store let me hold but not play (they didnt even have somewhere to sit, let alone plug in... bizarre). Other than that I just wanted to talk to somebody about what my needs were etc. and let them suggest stuff.

Without making this overly long, the Guitar Center had a WAY more extensive selection to sample. It was also set up really well so I could try lots of stuff easily. I told the guy if I found something I REALLY liked I'd be willing to spend up to 1000$ and to just suggest whatever he wanted. I played a PRS, a Gibson LP studio, a couple different Fenders... a whole bunch of different guitars. I kept going back to the PRS though as my favorite. I got to do a bunch of back to back type testing and I just didn't find anything I liked better.

I wasn't planning on actually buying anything, I told myself I'd get something only if it really felt good... otherwise I'd just come back home and mull over what I had learned. However after playing 3 different PRS guitars (24 SE Custom, SE singlecut, and the purple SE with the bats) I decided that the 24 SE Custom was the one for me. Oddly, it had the finished neck which I was sure would bother me... but this one in particular didn't seem to have that "sticky" feel. No idea. The guitar was listed at 489$ and they were having a 1 day sale on all PRS stuff for 15% off. I couldn't believe that I was willing to spend up to 1000$ and the guitar I liked best was going to be well less than half that. That type of thing just never happens to me, I always walk in wanting to spend 1000 and the thing I REALLY want winds up being 1200.

The lesson being, if you're reading this and thinking about ordering something off the web without playing a wide variety of guitars first... well... you're taking a chance. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I really can't believe how different each guitar I played felt. For me, the PRS line just seemed to "fit" best... all of a sudden I could reach frets better etc.... but hard to describe the differences. Being uncomfortable playing in front of other people was certainly a factor but after a few minutes it was no big deal. If you're a beginner like me, IMO its worth the effort to get over the fact that you're horrible and just play the stupid things before you buy one. There's going to be a guy there sitting next to you ripping it up and you'll feel dumb playing scales and simple chords but who cares?

I got the guitar home and couldnt be happier with it. It may not be the greatest guitar for everybody, but for me it works pretty well. Thanks again for the suggestions guys...

Glad to hear you got a guitar you love

I'm thinking of getting a PRS SE Custom 24
Would you recommend it??

Heading down to a local store later this week to try it out, as well as a few other guitars
At the moment, its between PRS or a Fender Highway One
I'd be somewhat uncomfortable reccomending anything for anybody else after my experience today, to be honest. I think its a great guitar and certainly for the price I don't think I could have done a whole lot better (for me). Still, I just started playing a year ago so I think the only solid advice I could offer is to actually go play what you're going to buy. I definitely underestimated the importance of going and trying stuff out before buying. Lots of the guitars I played today I could have gotten used to, but the one I bought kind of just went *thunk* right into my hands.

There are a ton of threads about this vs. that, and there is a lot to be learned from them... its not like those threads are without value. That said, I doubt I'll buy another guitar without playing it first... there are just too many variables to account for.

Good luck with your upcoming purchase =]
Last edited by Oppenheimer at Dec 6, 2009,